Anthony Gordon’s controversial Newcastle winner ends Arsenal’s unbeaten start

Anthony Gordon’s controversial second-half winner clinched Newcastle a 1-0 win against Arsenal, whose unbeaten Premier League start was halted at St James’ Park.

Gordon’s close-range finish was confirmed as a goal after a triple VAR check and was all that separated the two sides in an attritional encounter of few chances.

The Gunners slipped to their first defeat in 11 league games this season, while victory for Newcastle was affirmation that they can continue to mix it with the big guns.

Arsenal remain third in the table, two points behind new leaders Manchester City, with Newcastle four points adrift in sixth.

After a scrappy opening 15 minutes, Arsenal began to build momentum, but after forcing a series of corners had only Jorginho’s skied volley and William Saliba’s wayward header to show for their efforts.

Newcastle had barely threatened before Callum Wilson blazed Dan Burns’ knockdown over the crossbar from in front of goal in the 29th minute.

An intense physical first half was low on quality and littered with full-blooded challenges, one of which raised the home fans to fever pitch as Kai Havertz’s late lunge sent Sean Longstaff sprawling.

Kai Havertz's late lunge sparked a melee in a feisty encounter
Kai Havertz’s late lunge sparked a melee in a feisty encounter (Owen Humphreys/PA)

That sparked a players’ melee that took referee Stuart Atwell some time to control, with Havertz, Longstaff and Anthony Gordon eventually shown yellow cards.

Furious Newcastle assistant Jason Tindall made clear to the Arsenal bench what he thought of Havertz’s mis-timed challenge.

A third Newcastle player, Fabian Schar, was booked soon after to the wrath of Magpies fans.

Arsenal threatened to on the stroke of half-time, but Gabriel Martinelli’s fierce drive was comfortably held by Nick Pope.

Gordon lifted the home fans soon after the restart as he ran across the edge of Arsenal’s box looking to make space for a shot, but he was crowded out.

Declan Rice became more influential for the Gunners and he headed wide before Newcastle broke the deadlock in the 64th minute.

Both substitutes had hand in the goal soon after entering the action as Jacob Murphy’s shot span wide and was kept in play by Joe Willock, whose cross was headed down by Joelinton for Gordon to turn home.

Gordon's close-range finish survived a lengthy VAR check
Gordon’s close-range finish survived a lengthy VAR check (Owen Humphreys/PA)

There then followed a lengthy delay before the goal was confirmed as VAR checked whether the ball had gone out of play before Willock’s cross, whether Joelinton had fouled Arsenal defender Gabriel and if Gordon had been offside.

Newcastle were dealt an injury blow when Murphy popped the same shoulder which had kept him of recent games and was replaced by Matt Ritchie.

The Gunners probed for an equaliser, but their front line continued to mis-fire, creating no further chances on a disappointing afternoon for the north Londoners.